How Tesco forced me to buy on Amazon

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Yesterday I failed to buy a Christmas gift at Tesco, simply because they make it impossible to purchase from them. I was given instructions on exactly what to buy and was passing a Tesco store anyway so dropped in to try and make the purchase.

Unfortunately they were out of stock, but not to worry said the assistant, we’ve got more due in tomorrow (it was an electrical item). Great, could I reserve one and collect it in the evening? No, that wasn’t possible, apparently Tesco don’t allow you to reserve stock that’s destined for the shelves. However the assistant did have a suggestion – that particular Tesco store has a dedicated desk for their Internet shopping at the other end of the shop. I could simply ask for it to be ordered online with pick up in store the next day.

Ordering from Tesco Direct seemed like a great option, but then we discovered that it’s out of stock online, I could set up an email alert for when it comes back into stock online and then order it for collection in store.

The problem is no one knew when it might be back in stock and if that would be before Christmas, but what I did know is that a quantity were being delivered to that very store the next day. It would appear that Tesco shop stock and Tesco online stock is totally divorced and Tesco appear to have no ability to join the dots of online and offline commerce.

Sometimes I despair, We at Tamebay had great hopes when Tesco opened up a marketplace and grand visions of being able to order online and collect instore with your groceries. If Tesco can’t even make their own stock available what chance do they have of getting a marketplace working well?

The shop assistants were marvelous checking the 10 nearest stores for stock. Two of them even offering to check the shelves next day and hide the item for me until I could get back to collect it. The thing is though there was a similar product in stock on Amazon, albeit a couple of pounds more expensive. It was just a couple of clicks to order.

It was also being sold on Amazon by Safield Distributions Ltd. I know Safield, I’ve been out drinking with the owner many times over the years and we used to talk on the PowerSeller board. I know I’ll get good service from them.

Buying on Amazon was as always a pleasure, mainly because it’s so quick and easy. Trying to buy from Tesco was just a nightmare. I wouldn’t mind if Tesco had genuinely been out of stock, but they had the stock already scheduled to be delivered within 24 hours. Shop stock is different to online stock and they have no system to join the two so they lost the sale.

We’ve heard a lot of complaints from businesses that the likes of Amazon are killing the high street. It’s not Amazon killing the high street, it’s inept retailers killing themselves and driving consumers online.

12 Responses

  1. The difference with amazon and ebay right now is, ebay are pushing like tesco (large retail giants) at the expense of small sellers.

    Amazon being a larger reseller itself, is support as much as it sees it can and should small businesses.

    You will never get the same service level from a large retailer as you would small. Dispite what the negative feedback says on ebay. A retail giant is usally much much worse.

    The proof is in the pudding, the worst year ending sales for small and medium sellers on ebay 2012.

    Your tesco amazon expirence shows, that where tesco was unable to deliver a small reseller stepped up and was promoted to fill the order on amazon and by amazon.

    On ebay the only one promoted and stepping up are the likes of tesco themselves and small sellers are washed to the side.

    These obvious fact is why i have seen a sales increase on amazon this year and a very share decline on ebay. Because quite simply the traffic isnt flowing to smaller sellers. (and i am one of those)

  2. The sad truth of it is, Usually there is the same or nearly same deal on ebay for deal of days by small sellers. Often deal of day and promoted listings from large resellers are not as awesome as they are made out to be for those who know how to use search.

    But ebay promote this above anything else. Ebay has really let down the small and medium sellers that established them as a viable business and sold out.

    I hope amazon continues to do well, id rather pay the higher amazon fees that deal with the 2nd class standards i recieve as a seller from ebay.

  3. I bought some perfume from The websites interface wasn’t as slick as Amazon but I could collect the purchase from the local store and I could be fairly confident that it is genuine and fresh stock. I would be less keen to buy perfume off a third party seller on Amazon. Horses for courses.

  4. The Tesco in-store catalog shopping is nowhere as good as Argos.

    The times I have used it it took them a long time to to enter and fetch the order. The larger items in the store room still had security tags in them so the counter staff had to open the box to remove them, adding to the time.

  5. Tesco online and offline have to be different in order to compete with Amazon on price. Tesco online are trying to use the same loopholes to dodge tax as Amazon does.

  6. Having worked for Tesco I know how little they care for customers (apart from store staff who are generally helpful). Tesco can’t even get fresh food orders right, so how thy will ever compete with amazon I don’t know.

  7. In our household 80% of a lot of online shopping was done through Amazon.

    When I asked “why not ebay?” they all said that Amazon had a far better search and much easier check out process than ebay which made the buying experience infinitely quicker and easier than ebay.

    So basically buyers can find things on Amazon and once they have found things they can checkout and pay in 3 clicks.

    Seems that they cannot do this at either Tesco or eBay.

  8. I ordered a Homeplug from PC World, recently and selected “Click and Collect”. I thought I could just go to the local branch and they could pick one of the 3 seating on the shelf. But to my amazement I received an email saying that it would be ready to collect in 7 days time!!! I very nearly cancelled the order but I wanted to see just how inept they really were. I was proved right, although it was ready in 5 days and not 7, when I went to pick the item up the shop assistant was amazed that I had received an email with the invoice attached and saying it was ready, as most customers had not. I was then handed the item that was still in the DPD courier bag, so PC World had still had to pay for delivery from another warehouse when they had dead stock seating on the shelf, that was still there 4 weeks later when I popped back in.
    The high street just “Don’t Get It”, proved by the latest survey saying that over 50% of UK consumers will do a majority of their Christmas Shopping online (Netsuite Inc). No wonder the high street is going down the tubes, our local town is just full of Estate Agents and Charity shops, 3 Heart Foundation shops alone, and what do the council do but increase the parking charges to make up for the reduced number of people coming to the town.
    We have now closed all but one shop and are moving into a warehouse.
    If the High Street shops don’t change and start embracing e-commerce they will die.

  9. AMEN to your (excellent) article, and ditto to @Gary and @davelovesebay.

    My Amazon fees are horrendous and factored into the price. The important thing is that for those fees my product is easy to see and sells, without BS.

    Personally, with the death of Google Shopping, I tend to use Amazon like I did eBay in the good old days, I look there first.

  10. Which is all a bit of a shame really as Amazon don’t do auctions and don’t do the catagories I sell in. Neither do Tesco come to that.

    Maybe it is auctions and the stuff that ebay do do that Amazon don’t that make ebay rather more cumbersome.

    Or is it simply ebay that make ebay more cumbersome?


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